Located in north-central Florida, Lake City lies between Tallahassee and Jacksonville and boasts a wide variety of things to do in its own right. Attracting visitors year-round, activities in and around Lake City, Florida range from national forest and recreation areas to cultural and art attractions to festivals and historic sites and much more. The area is seen by many as a “natural theme park” for nature and outdoor enthusiasts, music lovers, and festival goers, or really anyone looking for a tranquil, quiet setting. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Osceola National Forest
Spanning across over two hundred thousand acres of pristine grounds within the north-central region of Florida, the Osceola National Forest gets its name from a famed Seminole warrior. The national forest is one of the largest attractions in the region for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts, offering visitors a broad range of outdoor recreation opportunities, such as hunting, camping, mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. The Osceola National Forest includes pine forests, swamps, lakes, and rivers, the majority of which are connected through a network of trails. Some activities like fishing and hunting may require permits and campsites can go quickly.
24874 US-90, Sanderson, FL 32087, Phone: 386-752-2577
2.Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum
© Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum
The Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum is situated in downtown Lake City, Florida along Southeast Hernando Avenue and is housed within a former home that dates back to the 1870’s. Open a few days every week from 10:00am until 1:00pm, the history museum is filled with interesting information related to the development, culture, and economy of Lake City and the surrounding Columbia County. Along with the many exhibits, the Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum features housewares, artwork, and period furniture of the nineteenth century to give visitors a glimpse into life in the area around 150 years ago.
157 SE Hernando Ave, Lake City, FL 32025, Phone: 386-755-9096
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3.Falling Creek Falls
While Florida is one of the flattest states in the nation and certainly not known for waterfalls, it is home to at least one waterfall worth visiting. Falling Creek Falls near Lake City, Florida is a great place to venture out to for anyone looking for nature to explore for an afternoon. Only a short drive outside of the city along Interstate 10, the waterfall features deep amber-hued waters that cascade over a limestone terrace, providing a particularly scenic site and a popular photo opportunity for visitors. There is a boardwalk running from the parking lot to Falling Creek Falls.
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4.Lake DeSoto Farmers Market
The Lake DeSoto Farmers Market in Lake City, Florida is described as a “make it, bake it, or grow it” market featuring local food entrepreneurs, artists, and growers. The market is open from nine in the morning until one in the afternoon every Saturday at Wilson Park in downtown Lake City. Lake DeSoto Farmers Market offers locally grown fresh herbs, plants, produce, and several other farm products, along with food vendors and local artists. Live music, special events, and other activities for people of all ages are often held at the Lake DeSoto Farmers Market as well.
778 NE Lakedesoto Cir, Lake City, FL 32055, Phone: 386-719-5766
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5.Painting with a Twist
© Painting with a Twist
Painting with a Twist is designed to show guests how to create their own works of art in a step-by-step manner. The goal of the art workshop is to provide “plain and simple” fun for everyone participating and no artistic or creative skills are needed. Painting with a Twist is a place and activity for friends to connect over a memorable night of laughter, snacks, and a glass of wine. The business was started by Rene Maloney and Cathy Deano in 2007 originally to help rebuild their community after Hurricane Katrina, offering a fun escape from the chaos.
1009 SW Main Blvd, Lake City, FL 32025, Phone: 386-438-8782
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6.Alligator Lake Recreation Area
The Alligator Lake Recreation Area offers several recreational activities for visitors, and while swimming isn’t really recommended in an area known for having alligators, there are several other options for outdoor recreation. Alligator Lake and the surrounding recreation area encompasses approximately one thousand acres in Lake City, Florida. Outdoor recreation activities possible in the park include mountain biking, hiking, and canoeing. Fishing is also a popular activity here, and the lake is known for harboring “lunker-size largemouth bass,” sometimes weighing in at over ten pounds. There are also clean restroom facilities and covered seating areas at Alligator Lake.
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7.Quail Heights Country Club
© Quail Heights Country Club
The Quail Heights Country Club in Lake City, Florida features an eighteen-hole championship golf course layout, providing a challenging mix of rolling hills, sand traps, and water to offer golfers an array of challenges. There are five sets of tees at the course, accommodating and entertaining players of all abilities and ages. Open both to members and the general public, the Quail Heights Country Club is a great outing during the weekend or a round of golf after a day of work. All of the fairways and greens are carefully manicured to maintain a challenging and enjoyable experience for guests.
161 SW Quail Heights Terrace, Lake City, FL 32025, Phone: 386-752-3339
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8.Marion Street Bistro & Brew House
© Marion Street Bistro & Brew House
The Marion Street Bistro and Brew House is situated right in the middle of the historic downtown area of Lake City, Florida, offering its own amazing cuisine and rich history. Ranging from sweet to savory, all of the dishes served at the Marion Street Bistro are carefully prepared with memorable flavors, striving for perfection with every plate. From craft beer to moscow mules, the full-service bar offers just about any drink guests can want, along with Happy Hour from 4:00pm until 6:00pm daily. Live music can be heard on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from local musicians.
281 N Marion Ave, Lake City, FL 32055, Phone: 386-487-6194
© Jessica's Bistro
Jessica’s Bistro in Lake City is a family owned and operated restaurant featuring a comfortable bistro atmosphere, professional and friendly service, and an eclectic menu. The local neighborhood eatery prides itself on its relaxed, yet unique atmosphere and was founded out of the owner’s passion for both people and quality food, providing a place with professional hospitality with a homely style. The menu at Jessica’s Bistro includes soupes, salads, pasta, wraps, and more, including famous dishes served by Mike’s Cafe, the restaurant that used to be where Jessica’s Bistro is now located, paying homage to the former long-time dining establishment.
426 SW Commerce Dr, Lake City, FL 32025, Phone: 386-438-5098
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10.Cedar River Seafood
© Cedar River Seafood
Cedar River Seafood in Lake City, Florida is well known for its fresh and delicious seafood served every day for more than forty years, offered as a Southern tradition as fried, grilled, blackened, or broiled. The menu is designed to appeal to people of all ages who want simple, tasty seafood, from young children to seniors. Popular options on the menu include the crab legs and the Big Mate’s Platter. Cedar River Seafood is open for lunch and dinner, from 11:00am until 9:30pm on Sunday to Thursday and from 11:00am until 10:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
1592 W US Hwy 90, Lake City, FL 32055, Phone: 386-752-8399
10 Best Things to Do in Lake City, Florida
- Osceola National Forest, Photo: olenaari/stock.adobe.com
- Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum, Photo: Lake City Columbia County Historical Museum
- Falling Creek Falls, Photo: HJ/stock.adobe.com
- Lake DeSoto Farmers Market, Photo: Xhico/stock.adobe.com
- Painting with a Twist, Photo: Painting with a Twist
- Alligator Lake Recreation Area, Photo: Siyano/stock.adobe.com
- Quail Heights Country Club, Photo: Quail Heights Country Club
- Marion Street Bistro & Brew House, Photo: Marion Street Bistro & Brew House
- Jessica's Bistro, Photo: Jessica's Bistro
- Cedar River Seafood, Photo: Cedar River Seafood
- Cover Photo: Peeradontax/stock.adobe.com
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